Then he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? But now I will return to fight against the prince of Persia; and when I go out, behold, the prince of Greece will come. But I will tell you what is inscribed in the book of truth: there is none who contends by my side against these except Michael, your prince.”Daniel 10:20-21
Daniel 10 is one of the most fascinating and foundational passages when it comes to establishing a Biblical understanding of spiritual warfare. As with most of Daniel’s prophecies, we are given a sneak peek behind the veil and what we discover is rather astonishing.
Spiritual principalities at war, fighting for power and dominion in the supernatural realm.
Daniel’s vision reinforces the supernatural context for the spiritual influence and control of the nations. These heavenly princes are just as territorial as the kings of the earth, and ultimately the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places wield power over and determine the course of the nations.
It should be noted that there are several Hebrew words that can be translated prince or ruler, but most of them are used in reference to human rulers. Only one word, however, is predominately used in regard to a supernatural being — the Hebrew word sar [שַׂר] — which is the word used here in Daniel’s vision.
So, from where do these supernatural princes come? I’m glad you asked.
The ORigin of Principalities
“When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God. But the LORD’s portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage.”Deuteronomy 32:8-9
There is One True God — the Most High — who is also known as the LORD — Yahweh — the God of Israel. He is the God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the Creator of all things in heaven and earth.
The Bible tells us that subsequent to the rebellion at the tower of Babel, the Most High divided up the nations and set their appointed boundaries, and then God apportioned the nations according to the number of the spiritual sons of God. In other words, the LORD temporarily disinherited the rebellions nations and handed the Gentiles over to lesser supernatural rulers — aka the sons of God, princes, lords, rulers, authorities, thrones and dominions.
The short story is that these supernatural princes did not rule according to the principles of justice and mercy but instead became cruel masters who desired glory for themselves and lorded their power over the nations through oppression, darkness, and fear. These rebellious princes became known as the heathen gods of the nations. They have been wreaking havoc on the Gentile nations of the world ever since.
God has taken his place in the divine council;
in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
“How long will you judge unjustly
and show partiality to the wicked?”…
I said, “You are gods,
sons of the Most High, all of you;
nevertheless, like men you shall die,
and fall like any prince.”Psalm 82:1-2, 6-7
“And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven. But the LORD has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people of his own inheritance, as you are this day.”Deuteronomy 4:19-20
Daniel’s vision provides a clear reference to warring princes from Persia and Greece, who were contending against Gabriel — a faithful prince to Yahweh — and Michael, who is identified as one of the “chief princes” and who has been placed in authority over God’s people Israel. The supernatural scene reveals Gabriel battling the evil principality over the Persian kingdom for 21 days and then receiving help from the prince of Israel — Michael — before returning to fight against both princes of Persia and Greece.
These spiritual powers are still operating behind the scenes today, pulling the strings, as it were, on the all the nations and their human governments. The sobering reality is that for all the people living within the hostile territories of these evil princes, they are oppressed and blinded by the spiritual forces of darkness. Only those spiritually redeemed and who have received the light and life of the Prince of princes — Jesus Christ — are no longer under spiritual bondage of these wicked rulers.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”Ephesians 6:12
The Prince of the Power of the Air
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.”Ephesians 2:1-2
Although the various principalities and powers over the nations operate at some level autonomously and independently of one another, I am of the persuasion that there is a chief prince of darkness who is the leader of them all. The angelic realm is highly organized with rank and file, which means that there is a ruler over all the various rebellious powers in the heavenly places.
I do believe this unique prince is Satan — the devil, the ancient serpent — who is the deceiver of the whole world. Let’s take a closer look at Satan’s unique role in the angelic order.
- He is known as the prince of the power of the air. [Ephesians 2:1-2]
- He is known as the god of this age. [2 Corinthians 4:4]
- He is known as Beelzebub — the prince of demons. [Luke 11:14-23]
- He is known as the prince of this world. [John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11]
- The devil has authority over all the kingdoms of the world. [Luke 4:5-7]
Now that we have a more comprehensive understanding of the origin of these rebellious principalities and rulers in the heavenly places, the mission of Jesus Chris is amplified beyond the natural, earthly perspective into the cosmic realm.
Yeshua — The Prince of princes
“By his cunning he shall make deceit prosper under his hand, and in his own mind he shall become great. Without warning he shall destroy many. And he shall even rise up against the Prince of princes, and he shall be broken—but by no human hand.”Daniel 8:25
Jesus Christ is King of kings, Lord of lords, and Prince of princes. After accomplishing the work of redemption that the Father gave Him to do, He ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of the Power on high — which is the most powerful position of authority in all the universe.
Knowing what we know now about the evil principalities and wicked rulers in the heavenly places, the cosmic mission of Jesus comes into full view. He came to conquer all the forces of evil and has been exalted above them all.
“He (Christ) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him … See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority … He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.”Colossians 1:16, 2:8-10, 15
“That he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.”Ephesians 1:20-21
“Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him. “1 Peter 3:21-22
Finally, on the Day of the LORD, Jesus will judge all the princes and kings in both heaven and on earth, bringing everything under His rule and reign so that He might be all in all!
“On that day the LORD will punish the host of heaven, in heaven, and the kings of the earth, on the earth.”Isaiah 24:21
The wicked principalities and powers who have oppressed the nations for so long will one day be judged by the Prince of princes and Lord of lords, and they will die like men.
Even so — Maranatha!